At that point , several heads turned and people began saying to each other, "Is that Paul Shanklin?" Shanklin is, of course, the impressionist who does multiple voices and recorded riffs for the Rush Limbaugh radio show. He's been doing that, under contract with Limbaugh, since 1992, when he did such voices as Ross Perot and, of course, Bill Clinton. He's kept pace with political change, and his Obama and McCain are spot-on. (The "Magic Negro" bit, to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," became controversial last year but was never intended to have racist overtones, contends Shanklin, who says it was merely a take-off on an adulatory newspaper column by an Obama supporter.)
- Conrad and Flinn at fundraiser
The bottom line of Shanklin's being ID'd in the fast-food queue: He had to give an impromptu concert, using several of his voices - including McCain, Pat Buchanan, and John Edwards.
The impressionist, who has brought out several CD's, advises (or warns) fans to expect another later this year.
That leaves Shaffer, who has considerable Democratic support, as the main challenger to businessman Kemp Conrad, who is supported by the Shelby County Republicans. Two other candidates are not expected to figure in the outcome of the special election, set for November 4. Former councilman Jack Sammons was named by the council this week as interim council member for the District 9, Position 1 seat, vacated at the end of August by former chairman Scott McCormick, who became president of the philanthropic Plough Foundation.
While this is Shaffers first major bid for office, Conrad ran for a different council seat only last year, losing to current council member Shea Flinn. As a sign of Conrads improved prospects, Flinns father, Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn hosted a fundraiser for his sons erstwhile opponent this past week.At that fundraiser, Conrad focused on a series of talking points, with public safety predominating as his core issue. But he ad-libbed an attack on Shaffer as a union boss and suggested that resisting union pressures might become an issue in his campaign.
For his part, Shaffer put out an all-points email seeking volunteers and announcing that he intended to campaign at this weekends Cooper-Young festival.
- Paul Shanklin
Otherwise well-behaved Memphians competed like bandits for this manna dropping from the ceiling of the Xcel Energy Center. This shot captures Beale Street impresario John Elkington (at left) and District Attorney General Bill Gibbons (dead center) in the act of vying with other Tennessee delegates.